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What to watch for today and over the weekend
Tiangong-2 comes back to Earth… After over two years in orbit, China’s manned space lab re-enters our atmosphere. Unlike its predecessor, this spacecraft is expected to make a controlled re-entry off the coast of New Zealand. The two labs have paved the way for China’s planned space station.
…While the world celebrates the first trip to the Moon. Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the day a human being first walked on the Moon, with events worldwide—including a countdown to Neil Armstrong’s first steps. Meanwhile, a Soyuz rocket carrying a US-Russian-Italian team will take off for the International Space Station from the launchpad in Kazakhstan where Yuri Gagarin began humanity’s first space voyage in 1961.
Hong Kong braces for dueling weekend protests. A pro-Beijing rally tomorrow will be a show of support for local police and embattled leader Carrie Lam. On Sunday, Hong Kong will turn out to voice anger against the government for the seventh week after a hated extradition bill ignited massive protests last month.
Japan goes to the polls, hopefully. A crucial election for the Upper House is likely to suffer from low voter turnout even though the future of the nation’s status as a pacifist nation potentially hangs in the balance.
Ukraine holds parliamentary elections. Comedian-turned-president Volodymyr Zelenskiy dissolved the body after his landslide victory in April, in hopes of gaining seats that will help him enact his agenda and appoint cabinet ministers.
While you were sleeping
US-Iran tensions intensified. President Trump announced that the US shot down an Iranian drone that approached a Navy ship in the Gulf of Hormuz. The escalation came just hours after Iran claimed responsibility for seizing a foreign tanker.
Boeing’s 737 Max blunder got a partial price tag. The aerospace giant will set aside $4.9 billion to compensate customers over the worldwide grounding of its troubled aircraft. The after-tax charge is expected to wipe out any profit in the second quarter. The company also faces lawsuits from victims’ families seeking compensation.
A South Korean man set himself on fire near Japan’s embassy in Seoul. The self-immolation is a sign of the deepening trade dispute between the two US allies, which has its roots in Japan’s colonization of Korea. Japan has cut off vital supplies to South Korea’s tech giants, and is considering removing the nation from a list of preferred trade partners.
Microsoft is coming for Amazon’s cloud crown. Microsoft stock ticked up after beating expectations and reporting its ninth straight quarter of double-digit revenue growth. The company’s booming cloud business is driving that growth and may even be taking market share from Amazon Web Services.
New York took the lead in the US fight on climate change. With Democrats currently enjoying full control of state government, governor Andrew Cuomo signed landmark climate legislation that calls for an 85% reduction in greenhouse gases from 1990 levels and a zero-carbon electric grid by 2040.
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Silicon Valley philanthropists want to stop the singularity. Reporter Natasha Frost’s field guide about the changing world of philanthropy today explores the aims of “effective altruism,” a movement praised by Bill Gates and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz. Curious about how philanthropy is growing worldwide? Ten charts tell the story.
Sober-curiosity is the new temperance. Drinking in America is on the decline, the result of a confluence between wellness culture, alternatives like legal marijuana, and a rise in alcohol-related deaths across generations. It’s opening up new opportunities for businesses—not to mention bartenders, who are concocting low- or no-alcohol alternatives. Next round is on the Quartz Obsession.
Matters of debate
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Future cities won’t have children. As more people delay—or even reject—parenthood, even America’s most prosperous cities are beginning to shrink.
Tourists need to watch out for fake alcohol. In many parts of the world, counterfeit or “illegal” alcohol is a common problem.
China may never be a rich country. Its state-driven version of capitalism is hitting its limits (paywall).
The Marshall Islands are radioactive. Parts of the Cold War bomb-testing site show higher levels than even Chernobyl and Fukushima.
Firefighters love their jobs. They may not make the most money, but according to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, they’re the happiest at work.
We may not need to see things to see them. Stimulating certain neurons with light—neurons that had fired when seeing an image previously—made mice “see” that same image.
China gave schoolchildren tracking devices. The 17,000 kids received watches that share their location with parents, but some say it’s for surveillance, not safety, purposes.
A Florida city is weaponizing “Baby Shark” against the homeless. That earworm and others will play on an overnight loop in a controversial attempt to clear the West Palm Beach waterfront.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, mocktails, and moon landing memories to email@example.com. Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Tripti Lahiri and edited by Isabella Steger.